In keeping with the Social Principals of the United Methodist Church, naming sexual harassment as an abuse of God’s good gift of human sexuality (¶ 161J), the California-Pacific Conference’s Office of Human Resources is making our churches aware of new legislation in the State of California regarding harassment prevention training.
On September 1, 2018, a new law was enacted in California (S.B. 1343)—effective January 1, 2019—that expands the requirement for mandatory sexual harassment prevention training for supervisors to include all employers with five or more employees. Previously, the law required this training for employers with 50 or more employees. In addition, the new law requires harassment awareness training for all non-supervisory employees. Both groups must receive training every two years, and the first round of training of all employees must be completed by January 1, 2020.
The training must meet certain criteria. It can be either classroom or online training, but it must be interactive, and the trainer must have certain qualifications, ie: be an attorney, an HR professional, a harassment prevention consultant, or a professor in a law school or university. There are many options for training, including the following:
- Department of Fair Employment & Housing Toolkit (DFEH)—to be used with a qualified trainer
- DFEH no-cost online training course (available in late 2019)
- Trainer or online program of choice that meets the requirements for content and trainer qualifications
- CongregationU, a sister company to Safe Gatherings, has revised their online sexual harassment training to be in compliance with California’s new requirements, and they are offering it to our churches at a discounted price. All churches will receive a notice directly from CongregationU about this option available to them, and they can sign up if they would like.
For clarification, this legally-mandated training on the topic of workplace sexual and other harassment prevention is separate and distinct from abuse prevention programs such as Safe Gatherings and Safe Sanctuaries, which are focused on prevention of abuse of children, youth and vulnerable adults in the religious environment.
Here are links to more details about this new law, as well as resources provided by the Department of Fair Employment and Housing:
- DFEH Sexual Harassment Prevention Training and S.B. 1343 FAQs
- DFEH Sexual Harassment and Abusive Conduct Prevention Training Toolkit
For general questions about this announcement, please contact Jan Hanson (email@example.com), Director of Human Resources. Please consult with legal counsel for questions regarding specific requirements and applicability for your church.